Memorizing Pi to 400 Decimal PlacesThe obvious first question is, What exactly IS pi to 400 decimal places? Here it is:
Pi=3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971There are many different ways to memorize pi. There are even those pi purists who refuse to use the mnemonic alphabet, and attempt to learn the numbers as numbers themselves. University of Edinburgh professor Alexander Craig Aitken learned it to a particular rhythm. Others assign meaning directly to the numbers themselves. For example look at the last four numbers in the first row above (1971). Some might remember this number as the year they were born or that some other memorable event from that year.
Are these methods effective? They certainly seem to be for the individuals who create them. It can be tricky though, for others to try and learn these methods, especially as the associations are often highly personal.
What advantages does this method offer? First, it can be taught to anyone who is familiar with both the mnemonic alphabet and the English language (indeed, it can be easily adapted to almost any Germanic language). Second, it doesn't just teach the digits in order, but out of order at the same time! What do I mean by out of order?
Imagine not just knowing the digits of pi themselves, but also where they are relative to each other. You could face challenges like these:
* Given the proper location, you can recall a corresponding group of four digits.The traditional mnemonic alphabet method for pi is based on converting the numbers into words, and then linking them into a story. As you can see, if you forget just one element of the story, the entire number is thrown off! The method taught here eliminates the story aspect, and makes the memorization both simpler AND much more effective at the same time!
* Recall a single digit in the Nth position after the decimal point
* Given a group of four numbers, you can recall the location
* You can even recall entire sequences of numbers from pi
When you're ready, click to continue.
Pi ChartTo make this easier, we'll break the 400 digits after the decimal point (note that the initial 3 isn't in the chart itself) into a 10x10 grid of four digit numbers:
Now, we'll turn each set of coordinates and each four-digit number into words we can associate with each other. For example, since 1 is equal to a t sound, then we can make A1 represent the word ATe. The number at that point in the grid, 1415, translates into the sounds of t, r, t, and l - so we'll represent that number with the word TuRTLe. Now, you link the word ATe to the word TuRTLe in a humorous or exaggerated way. Picturing yourself just having ate a turtle should do it. In a similar manner, you can turn A2 into ANnoy and 9265 into PuNCH Low, and picture yourself being annoyed by a punch low on your body, perhaps by a disembodied fist (just to make the picture unusual and memorable).
Below is a complete list of associations. Go through each one and associate the words together in silly ways. The more memorable the image, the stronger a memory key it will be! Assuming you already know what sounds go with what number in the Peg system, you should have little trouble remembering the entire chart in a short time!
You can also find alternate mnemonics, courtesy of Train Your Brain and Entertain user Wallace Gluck, in my New Pi Mnemonics post.
Once you've made each of the associations, go to the next section to learn various ways to present this feat. If you'd rather be tested right away, practice with the 400-digit Pi quiz!
|A1: ATe - TuRTLe||B1: BaD - SHaBBy MoB|
|A2: ANnoy - PuNCH Low||B2: BoNe - PuMa CLaw|
|A3: AiM - MaLe FiB||B3: BuM - weT SaLiVa|
|A4: AiR - KeeP MooN!||B4: BeeR - NoSe PiCK|
|A5: ALe - Mmmmm...FReSH!||B5: BeLL - RePaiReR|
|A6: ASH - New GeRM||B6: BaDGe - Law, By NaMe|
|A7: ACHe - MoVe hiM? No!||B7: BaG - SaCK FooD|
|A8: A Vow - CouPLeS||B8: BuFF - CHaiR'S waSH|
|A9: (h)APPy - iN FaVor||B9: BiB - NePHew CHiN|
|A10: ACe - ToP CaT||B10: BuS - SaVe BoB!|
|C1: CaT - FiSH kNiFe||D1: DoT - SoaP 'eM oFF|
|C2: CaN - SMuRF||D2: DeN - aiR RuSHeS|
|C3: CoMa - aNNuL MaRRy||D3: DaMn - PoLo LoSS|
|C4: CaR - huNT DoG||D4: DRy - LV NeoN|
|C5: CoaL - iCe aGe CuBe||D5: DeaL - MaDe GaiN|
|C6: CaSH - FiNDeR||D6: DaSH - LiMb LeaP|
|C7: CooK - haVe hiS FuDGe||D7: DoG - ReCeiVeD|
|C8: CaVe - LouD MaN||D8: DiVe - NaVy aRRiVe|
|C9: CuP - VeNoMS||D9: DoPe - iDea iDioTiC|
|C10: CaSe - JuDGe woRK||D10: DiCe - RoLL SooN|
|E1: EDDy - FjoRDS||F1: FighT - waRRioR kNiFe|
|E2: EN - eNCaSeD||F2: FuN - FaT SPy|
|E3: EM - BeaM FeLL||F3: FoaM - CoLLeGe waSH|
|E4: ERR - eNTiTieS||F4: FeaR - heLP! MoMMy!|
|E5: EEL - Lay Low heLP||F5: FiLe - ReRuSHeD|
|E6: EDGe - SHeaR RiDGe||F6: FiSH - New FoRK|
|E7: EGG - New NeighBoR||F7: FaKe - Lie, SHeRiFF?|
|E8: EVe - ViP LuRe||F8: FiFe - eNeMy MoCK|
|E9: EBB - Bay MuSeuM||F9: FiB - FiSH GooF|
|E10: EaSy - PHoTo PaGe||F10: FaCe - MeeT JuLie|
|G1: GuT - NiCoTiNe||H1: HaTe - DooM MoB|
|G2: GowN - STePS||H2: HeN - Ma haTCHeS eGG|
|G3: GaMe - PaTRoL||H3: HoMe - eNJoy SuN|
|G4: GeaR - SHRiVeL||H4: HaRe - RaBBiT eaR|
|G5: GoaL - eaCH CHiP iN||H5: HeLLo - aDD iNCoMe|
|G6: GuSH - eMeRGeS||H6: HeDGE - CoiN RoLe|
|G7: GaG - MoRe FiSH||H7: HoG - haVe eXCeSS|
|G8: GaFF - DiCe ReaL?||H8: HaVe - JuDGe'S iSSue|
|G9: GaP - Re-MaNaGe||H9: HiP - MeTaL aLLoy|
|G10: GaS - SHaRe VaN||H10: HoSe - halF-oFF TaG|
|I1: IT - ReViVe iT||J1: JeT - STaDiuM|
|I2: INN - LoNe SPa||J2: JoiN - MoSLeM|
|I3: I'M - NoiSy, BiTCHy||J3: JaM - haS LaRVa|
|I4: IRe - eNouGH! uNhaPPy!||J4: JeeR - oFteN SouR|
|I5: ILL - iNhaLeRS||J5: JaiL - huGe JaiL Now|
|I6: ItCH - PeT CaT||J6: JuDGe - DeeM FaiR|
|I7: IKe - Law MaJoR||J7: JacK - TiRe SHoP|
|I8: IVy - MaGiC iVy||J8: JaVa - OlD BRew|
|I9: (y)IPe - PaiN yeLP||J9: JoB - DeLeTeD|
|I10: ICe - SMaSHeS||J10: JaS - JaSPeR|
Presenting Your Knowledge of Pi
The best way to be ready to demonstrate this feat is to create a small chart you can carry around in your wallet. Create a small ID-card sized chart, including the coordinates (A-J & 1-10), on your printer and have it laminated. You are now ready to be quizzed in a variety of ways.
Basic 4-DigitsIf you've made the associations properly, you can already do this one! Simply have someone name a set of coordinates, and recall the correct number via the mnemonic association.
Intermediate 4-DigitsAsk for a set of coordinates, and mention you'll give the number backwards! When you recall the mnemonic word, simply convert them into numbers starting with the rightmost (last) digit, and continuing through to the leftmost (first) digit. This gets easier with practice. To those watching, though, this seems MUCH tougher than it actually is.
Advanced 4-DigitsIn this version, you ask for a set of four digits, and you recall the coordinates at which they are located. This will take a little practice, as you have to be able to quickly translate a given number into it's mnemonic association, and then recall the coordinate mnemonic. It's a startling addition to your pi feat, though.
Nth Digit of PiThis will require some mental calculations. Have someone name any position up to 400 digits after the decimal place. Let's say they ask for the 157th digit after the decimal place. You first divide by 4, and remember not only the number but the remainder. In our example, this would be 39 with a remainder of 1 (157 / 4 = 39 r 1). The 3 in the 39 tells us to skip 3 complete rows (A, B & C) and look for it in the next row (row D). The 9 in the 39 tells us how many complete columns over the number is. We already know we're looking for D9. In our example, we have a remainder of 1, so we now know we're looking for the 1st digit after D9. In other words, we're looking for the first digit of D10. We know D10 is DiCe which is associated with RoLL SooN. R is the first letter of the associated phrase, so we can state that 4 is the 157th digit after the decimal place!
Rows, Columns and DiagonalsThis is impressive enough to use as a finale, but not much more difficult than the Basic 4-Digits feat above. You simply ask for any row (A-J) and recite it starting with the 1st set of four digits, and continuing through with the 10th set of four digits in that row. Columns can be called instead, and you just start with the A coordinates for that column, and continue through to the J coordinates. You can even have them ask for diagonals, either A1 through J10 or A10 through J1. With a little extra practice, you can run through every row, column or diagonal backwards!
Practice now with the pi quiz!